Museum logo
Museum logo

Person Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Name Keeling, William Henry
Born 03/18/1835
Birthplace Vermont
Places of residence Nebraska, Falls City
Father Keeling, Henry
Mother Hill, Nancy
Education Attended the common schools and the academy at Bakersfield, Vermont.
Notes Major Keeling had rare experiences on the western plains in the early days of the "wild and woolly West." He mingled much with the Indians, was a friend to them and in turn was beloved by them; he had great influence over them. While in Montana they called him "The man that shakes hands and gives us bread and meat." He and General Sherman remained warm friends until the latter’s death.
Occupation Worked at the printer’s trade until 1853, when he joined his father in New Orleans. In April, 1855, he entered the employ of the United States government, and was a member of a surveying corps at Leavenworth, Kansas. Served with the13TH U. S. INFANTRY, 1861-68. He then clerked in a grocery store at Leavenworth until the spring of 1856, following which he entered the employ of an immigration company in eastern Iowa for one year. He followed surveying in Louisiana a year 1858, then went to Houston, Texas, where he was associated with a family that were relatives of William H. Taft, later to become President of the United States, remaining with that household until 1860. He planned to go into business in the South, but sickness overtaking him, he returned to the old homestead, later coming to St. Louis, where he worked awhile, going to eastern Iowa in 1861, where he recruited for the United States army. He was offered a commission of lieutenant-colonel of a regiment of volunteers, but declined, preferring to remain with the Thirteenth Regiment of the regular army. On May 6, 1866, he was sent from Ft. Leavenworth to Montana, as quartermaster in charge of a vast amount of government supplies carried on several steamer. He built the military post at the mouth of the Judith river in Montana, known as Camp Cooke. He also selected the site of Ft. Shaw. He retired from the service in 1867, after a most commendable record, receiving an honorable discharge.
He came to Falls City in 1868 and engaged in the general merchandise business with Maj. J. E. Burbank, until 1872, when he was appointed army post trader for the United States
government at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He held this position until the spring of 1886, when he returned to Falls City, where he had retained some business interests during his absence at the fort, and here he again entered actively into mercantile pursuits. It was a partnership business until in January,
1888, when he conducted the store alone until 1893. Served as mayor of Falls City three different terms, during which he did much for the general welfare of the community.
Relationships Paternal grandmother was a revolutionary pensioner, who, when 96, traveled from Rockford, Illinois, to Connecticut.
Role Business
Spouse Dunham, Abbie E. (d. 1866), Hoyt, Eliza (d. 1891), Miller, Zaida (Zadie)
Children 3 children with Eliza Hoyt: Lois H., Grace N., and Taylor. Taylor lived in Montana and had at least one child, Lois Harriet.

1 child with Zaida: William M. Keeling
Deceased 03/06/1920
Deceased where Falls City, Nebraska

Associated Records

Image of RG0888.AM - RG0888 Cheyenne Indian Art

RG0888.AM - RG0888 Cheyenne Indian Art

The collection consists of reproductions of the Cheyenne Indian artwork contained in the William Henry Keeling ledger (housed in the Nebraska History Museum). Many of the 115 drawings are in color.

Image of 11055-1885 - Trophy; War; Horsehair; Feather

11055-1885 - Trophy; War; Horsehair; Feather

Ornament or War Trophy made of tuft of black horsehair, brown/white/gray feather and a piece of hide or skin (possibly human scalp) stretched in a hide covered loop. The tuft of hair is tied at the top with yellow quill wrapped leather. The leather ties hang down longer than the hair.

Image of 11310-1 - Club, War; Fixed Stone; Rawhide Wrapped Handle

11310-1 - Club, War; Fixed Stone; Rawhide Wrapped Handle

Club with fixed stone head construction. Elliptical shaped head is made of light gray-brown colored pecked geode The stone has a thick band of rawhide wrapped around it attaching it to the handle. The handle is a round wood stick wrapped with rawhide that is secured with sinew. The bottom of the handle has evidence of a leather tab being attached to it.

Image of 11310-10-(1-2) - Moccasins; Leather; Beaded; 3 stripe design; Crow

11310-10-(1-2) - Moccasins; Leather; Beaded; 3 stripe design; Crow

One pair of adult leather moccasins with hard sole and decorated with glass beads. The leather is cut in a straight inside line to toe with a straight cut, stand up cuff with a slit in the back. Heel of moccasin has a seam, covered with a strip of striped beadwork. Leather thong laces wrap around the ankle through slits in the skin. A triangular leather tongue is cut from a separate piece of leather and attached to the instep with sinew. The instep is decorated with a narrow strip of beadwork flanked with two smaller rectangles. The colors used in the design are white heart red, dark blue, greasy yellow, and green. The beads are attached with sinew in a lazy stitch.

Image of 11310-11-(1-2) - Moccasins; Leather; Beaded; Crow

11310-11-(1-2) - Moccasins; Leather; Beaded; Crow

Adult moccasins made of leather with hard sole and decorated with glass beads. The leather is cut in a straight inside line to toe with a split back and straight cut cuff. An elongated triangular tongue is attached with sinew. Leather thong laces are wrapped around the ankle through slits in the skin. The moccasins are decorated with glass beads on the instep in colors of dark blue, white, pink and white heart red beads. The beadwork design is a thin rectangular bar running up and down the instep and has stripes of multi-colored beads in it. The beads are attached with sinew in a lazy stitch. Painted parflesche insoles.

Image of 11310-12-(1-2) - Moccasins, Pair

11310-12-(1-2) - Moccasins, Pair

Adult moccasins made of leather with a separate hard sole and decorated with glass beads. The leather is cut in a straight inside line to toe with a split back and slanted cuff. A separate elongated trapezoidal shaped tongue is attached with sinew. The moccasins are decorated with round glass beads in colors of dark blue, yellow, translucent red, and white. A hanging cross design is placed on the instep. A single bead row of dark blue and translucent right triangles on a white background is placed on the back seam. The beads are attached with sinew in a lazy stitch. Traces of yellow paint/dye is seen on the undecorated parts of leather. Two short thong trailers are attached at the base of the

Image of 11310-13-(1-2) - Moccasins; Leather; Beaded; Floral; Crow

11310-13-(1-2) - Moccasins; Leather; Beaded; Floral; Crow

One pair of adult women's moccasins with a separate hard sole and back heel seam. Ankle flaps are made of separate pieces of leather that is thinner and a lighter color. The insteps are decorated with a beaded floral design that incorporates red, dark green, light blue, dark green, pink and dark blue. The beaded motif is of a symetrical multi-branched stem with 9 leaf and flower bud shapes extending from it. The beadwork is attached with running and overlay stitch and thread. Thin leather ties wrap around the ankle of each through piercings in the leather and tie at the front of the moccasin.

Image of 11310-14-(1-2) - Moccasins, Pair

11310-14-(1-2) - Moccasins, Pair

Children's or young adult's moccasins made of leather with hard sole. The leather is cut in a straight inside line to toe with a split back and slanted cuff. The tongue is a separate piece in an elongated trapezoidal shape. Thong laces wrap around the ankle through slits in the leather. There seem to be traces of yellow paint on the undecorated leather.

Image of 11310-15 - Blanket, Saddle; Beaded Army Blanket; US Flags

11310-15 - Blanket, Saddle; Beaded Army Blanket; US Flags

Saddle blanket made of a green wool US army blanket. Underside of blanket is covered with cream colored muslin cotton fabric. The blanket is rectangular shaped, with curved indentions on each side. All of the edges are bound with greenish yellow grosgrain ribbon. This ribbon is attached to the top of the blanket, creating an interior border and bisecting the center of the blanket as well. Each of the four corners of the blanket are decorated with floral applique beadwork. The beads used are light blue, dark blue, orange, red, pink and yellow and white. Each motif is outlined with white beads. In addition to the flowers, there are 4 United States flags incorporated into the design. Small flor

Image of 11310-16-(1-3) - Cradle W/ Doll, Doll Blanket; Cradle Marked 97-4

11310-16-(1-3) - Cradle W/ Doll, Doll Blanket; Cradle Marked 97-4

An inverted U-shaped wood board covered with cotton cloth. The top is a piece of beaded leather with floral design units. A piece of red wool is used as trim with a row of yellow glass beads. Cotton cloth is attached to the board and shaped to form a shallow bag. Fully beaded straps of geometric designs are placed across the bag. A U-shaped design unit is placed at the base of the cradleboard. Leather fringe is attached at the base and top of the cradleboard. The bag holds a small doll made of cotton cloth tied with a piece of green velvet. A V-shaped piece of green velvet is used as a blanket. The cradleboard is marked on the back in ink with "97-4". Bead colors include light blue, dark blue

Image of 11310-17 - Bag, Beaded; With Flap; Fringed; Red; Leather

11310-17 - Bag, Beaded; With Flap; Fringed; Red; Leather

***Bag has mildew damage. Use mask and gloves when handling. Do not store in same box with other artifacts.***Leather bag decorated with beadwork. Bag is small and thin and made of commercially tanned leather that appears to have been reappropriated from other objects. The lower part of the bag is made of red dyed leather and the upper portion is made of brown leather. The pieces of leather are connected with machine stitching. The top of the bag closes with a curved flap with a small button hole in it. The edges of the front are decorated with rows of white, blue, yellow and white heart red beadwork. The bottom of the bag is trimmed with long, cut fringe. The back of the bag has a thin leat

Image of 11310-18 - Pipe Bag, Beaded; Cheyenne,

11310-18 - Pipe Bag, Beaded; Cheyenne,

Leather Throat Sewn to Beaded Fringed Bag, Geometric Pattern COLORS: tan, white, green, red, yellow, blue, black beads TECHNIQUE: hand sewn, lazy stitch beads

Image of 11310-19 - Horn; Buffalo; Drinking; Cup; Decorated

11310-19 - Horn; Buffalo; Drinking; Cup; Decorated

Dark blackish brown colored animal horn with open center. Horn is probably buffalo. Surface of horn has incised drawing of buffalo and an animal skull (possibly a coyote). The incised outlines of the figures are painted with matte red pigment. A large hole is cut into the opening of the horn and has a thin leather thong attached to it. The name "Keeling" is written on the leather strap.

Image of 11310-2 - Bow, Wood; No String

11310-2 - Bow, Wood; No String

Wooden bow made of honey colored wood. Bow has an S curve shape. Both ends of bow carved into bulb shapes. Bow string missing. Bow has a small row of tiny round, pin, sized impressions on interior. The name "Keeling 46" is written in ink on exterior.

Image of 11310-20 - Ivory, Walrus

11310-20 - Ivory, Walrus

Walrus tusk; ivory. Long, yellowed chunk of tusk with carved or chipped of pieces. Appears to have been used as a tool, as it has considerable wear on all sides and surfaces. Has "Keeling 53" written in ink on one side.

Image of 11310-21 - Ornament, Horse Hair; Quillwork

11310-21 - Ornament, Horse Hair; Quillwork

Ornament made of tuft of black/dark brown horsehair. Horsehair is gathered at top and wrapped with a thin strip of leather that is wrapped with yellow quillwork. A strip of leather extends from the top of the tuft. The strip of leather is partially wrapped with quillwork. A leather rawhide tie is placed at the top of the quill wrapping.

Image of 11310-22-(1-2) - Moccasins, Pair, Alaskan

11310-22-(1-2) - Moccasins, Pair, Alaskan

One pair of men's large moccasins. Soft soled woodland style made of rust colored leather. LIned with cream colored cotton. Ankle flaps are made of brown velveteen fabric that has possible cardboard lining inside. A double row of white beads is placed on the edges of the brown velvet. The tops of the ankle flaps has red wool herringbone pattern woven wool fabric that extends past the cuff and forms ankle ties. The lower edges of the ankle flaps are trimmed with faded red cotton fabric. The tops of the moccasins have a panel of brown velveteen fabric on a base of thin cardboard. A beaded 6 petal floral design is appliqued to the top of the moccasin. The beads are large and in shades of pink,

Image of 11310-23 - Flute, Wood;  Flageolet; Animal

11310-23 - Flute, Wood; Flageolet; Animal

Flute or flageolet made of a straight section of red reddish colored wooden branch, cut, smoothed, cut lengthwise, pith removed except for one end, where it is carved into a mouth piece. The two pieces of the flute are connected using 4 strips of leathers. 6 holes are carved into the top of the flute. A rectangular hole is carved into the top and is covered with a wooden stop that is carved into an L shape and resembles an abstract animal figure. The stop is tied to the flute with a piece of leather. A piece of twine is tied to the flute, right below the mouth piece.

Image of 11310-24 - Quirt; Braided; Horsehair; Geometric Shapes

11310-24 - Quirt; Braided; Horsehair; Geometric Shapes

Quirt made of white, orange, yellow purple and black horsehair woven in a geometric diamond pattern around a core with one large tassel at the center. Whip end is made of a pair of thin leather strips that are tied to a loop at the base of the quirt. Tip of the quirt has a braided horsehair loop topped with a tassel and netted bulb. File indicates this is from Mexico.

Image of 11310-25-(1-2) - Mittens, Pair; Leather; Red Wool; Beaded; Floral

11310-25-(1-2) - Mittens, Pair; Leather; Red Wool; Beaded; Floral

One pair of leather mittens with red wool and beadwork trim. The mittens are made of pale colored leather. The wrists are wrapped with red wool flannel fabric. The red weft fibers are missing in places, exposing white warp fibers. The top of the red wool is bound with blue silk ribbon. The bottom edge is trimmed with white muslin fabric. The insides of the mittens are lined with white flannel wool. Glass beadwork decorates the front and back of the red flannel. The beaded design is abstract and floral, featuring heard shaped flowers, round buds and wavy stems. The beads used in the design are light blue, dark blue, orange, white pink and black. The beads are attached to the leather with whit